When we think of the current state of leadership, we will probably all agree that leadership needs a change more than anything in our world today and I have ranted about this in previous articles. I encourage you to read Why is Leadership Development so ineffective? to understand my thinking, and what needs to be done from a training and development perspective. Yesterday I wrote Toxic Leadership – The Global Reality and this deals with what we can expect from good leaders today, but what will leaders of the future be like? Some will argue they will be the same as today and perhaps less effective. This of course could easily be the reality and that would be a sad state indeed.
Rather than focus on the now, let’s dream a bit and imagine what characteristics, abilities and skills a good leader will need in the future. A guideline for leaders and aspiring leaders in the next few years.
Vision is not limited to the future and perhaps this is why leaders tend to shy away from the visionary part of leadership. We believe that we cannot predict the future, and therefore we try not to communicate too much of our opinion into the future. Instead we remain in the past, looking at statistics and managing accordingly. This may work but in so doing we have neglected the very basics of leadership.
Who are we leading? – We lead people and we manage systems. When we place more focus on systems than on people we become managers. Yet a leader is only a leader, if there are people to serve. Leaders know that they exist because of the people they are able to serve and you can only be judged as a good leader by the people you serve.
What is the leaders duty? – The leaders first and foremost duty is to serve, but what does this service look like. Simply put the leaders duty is to communicate the vision, by simplifying and ensuring that everyone on the journey has bought into the common vision. The more effective the communication of the vision to more security the people have and with time the vision becomes their own.
The vision should be over communicated by the leader in as many different ways as possible. The art of telling a story in different ways is the skill the leader of the future will need to develop. This may sound challenging but the reality is that when anything truly becomes your intention, communicating is simplified as you can trust yourself knowing that everything you do and say is from your intention. People will begin to understand and feel the intention of the leader, actually finding security in the belief of the leader. This intentional communication can also be described as passion.
Why is this intentional communication so important? – We live in a world of vast amounts of information, which to most of us is simply noise and we lack the ability to focus on the important. Even governments have become ineffective due to the The lost art of Propaganda, simply because they can no longer intimidate people as they did in the past due to the fact that people share information and re-assure each other. The leader needs to keep communicating to the tribe and allow them to focus on the journey on hand.
Will this work for everybody? – No certainly not! In most organisations there are the performers and the non-performers. We all wish that the non-performers will leave and the performers will stay, however the reality is usually the reverse. We are then left with non-performers who simply ‘collect their pay’.
Why did the performers leave the organisation? – Someone else communicated a vision which gave them a better sense of purpose than the current organisation. This gave them a renewed vision for their own lives and a better sense of purpose. This is simply because the vision was communicated by the leader – not just internally within the walls of the organisation, but for the whole world to hear.
Leaders need to communicate the vision over and over again, ensuring that people within the organisation and outside the organisation understand the intention. It will not be easy, but then who ever said leadership would be easy?
In the rest of this series I will cover : The Listener, The Communicator, and The Connector.
Let’s start the conversation about Leadership, I would appreciate your feedback.